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62cwil
08-26-2012, 03:17 PM
HELP! SOLAR SYSTEM ON RV NOT CHARGING BATTERY



Any suggestions to make work properly are appreciated.
My system is a Go Power 155 watt solar panel and a Go Power GP-Gpm-30 Regulator. By the way Go Power has just came out with the 155 watt so the instructions for the 145 watt are the same. http://gpelectric.com/products/145-watt-solar-charging-kit

http://gpelectric.com/files/gpelectric/Docs/Manuals/Go_Power_MAN_GP-PWM-30.pdf

http://gpelectric.com/files/gpelectric/Docs/Specs/Go_Power_Spec_Sheet_Regulator_GP-PWM-30.pdf

My readings on 8/24 no sun were 12.3 V 74% and 0.0 Amps
on 8/25 no sun were 12.1 V 72% and 0.0 Amps
on 8/26 sunny were 12.2 V 70% and 0.0 Amps

I took the following readings with my meter:

On regulator at solar connections with battery terminals connected to regulator and battery 19.67. Readings on solar connections with battery wires disconnected were 19.59.

On regulator terminals at battery terminals with battery wires connected 1.36. With battery wires disconnected 1.36.

At battery with wires connected to battery terminal on regulator 12.25. With wires from battery terminals connected on regulator and disconnected at battery 1.35

I have two 12 volt Sterling 24RV-90 Deep Cell Flooded batteries which both say 14.4 Hours @ 5 amps and 590 CA and 460 CCA with 125 reserve. Per Go Power the positive is connected to the positive on one battery and the negative is connected to the negative on the second battery.

The install was by a friend who is an electrician who has since rechecked all connections and the crimping at the battery. Also we used the # 8 wire that came with the panel. The panel wires are 5 foot from the regulator and the wire from the regulator to the battery is 17 feet. We understood the instructions to say double the wires and then cut in half we ended up having to splice 5 feet away from the battery with the same wire. The slices are solid and checked and same readings at the splice as at the battery and the regulator 12.25.

If anyone can tell me what we may had done wrong or what to do or check next I would greatly appreciate it.
:confused:

RollingHome
08-26-2012, 03:46 PM
Was this a new install ?

1). Measure battery only volts, test with a resistance load if possible. This checks battery condition. A shorted cell will not charge. It will pull the whole system down to low volts

2). You need to take voltage measurements from the PV cells only (disconnect regulator) to make sure they are working.
3). Ditto with the regulator connected and battery disconnected. This is to see if the regulator is pulling down the cell voltage.
4). Measure voltage at cells with battery connected. This is to find out if the regulato and batteries are dragging down the system.
5). You need to take voltage measurements on the battery side of the regulator with battery disconnected. This checks voltage regulation, however, it ignores current capability and draws
6). Ditto with battery connected. Should be around 14+ VDC. If not, either the battery (shorted cell) or the regulator is not capable of passing current.
7). Put a DVOM on DC amps in series with battery and regulator (notice DVOM amp (fuse) rating). Does amperage exceed regulator rating ? bad battery or, is it so low it's rediculous (bad regulator) ?

I'd venture a guess the regulator is defective (even if new)... just a guess.

RollingHome
08-26-2012, 03:51 PM
In rereading your post, I believe you have the batteries connected in series, not parallel. This will mean 24 volts DC. I think they should be in parallel for 12 volts DC. Instead of using both batteries, try getting your system to work with one battery and get back.

62cwil
08-26-2012, 04:35 PM
Thanks Tom. I will go over today and check. Believe it or not when troubleshooting when I got two weeks ago they did send me a new regulator. Yes this is a new install.

62cwil
08-26-2012, 05:32 PM
In rereading your post, I believe you have the batteries connected in series, not parallel. This will mean 24 volts DC. I think they should be in parallel for 12 volts DC. Instead of using both batteries, try getting your system to work with one battery and get back.

Tom, I am on the way to rig now. Assuming I am connected in series and not parallel and if I hook positive and negative to one battery will the keep both batteries charged.

danemayer
08-26-2012, 05:41 PM
Tom, I am on the way to rig now. Assuming I am connected in series and not parallel and if I hook positive and negative to one battery will the keep both batteries charged.
I think he's saying that you should take one battery out of the installation entirely. Get it working on a single battery first.

Tombstonejim
08-26-2012, 06:20 PM
Tom, I am on the way to rig now. Assuming I am connected in series and not parallel and if I hook positive and negative to one battery will the keep both batteries charged.

Confuses the heck out of me. WIth 12volt batteries they should be connected positive to positive and negative to negative.

If you have them connected positive to negative it is gonna be 24 volts and will not charge, Plus sure ain't good for your 12volt appliances.

RollingHome
08-26-2012, 07:21 PM
Every poster is correct. What I am suggesting is, make it easy, one step at a time. Let's do 1 battery and get it working. Then we will bring in the second battery.

62cwil
08-26-2012, 07:39 PM
Tom, I went to rig and system is connected parallel so I left them like they were that is positive wire from controller to positive on one battery and negative on controller to negative on battery on the other battery. Also Tom I did disconnect the wires from the solar unit to the regulator and tested the wire and got a reading of 19.86 which is consistent with what it was when hooked up. I assume this means power is coming down from the solar unit. Am I correct, if so I can rule that out. Also checked at the battery terminals on the regulator and got 1.36 both with battery cables hooked and also with battery cables disconnected from regulator. In taking readings at regulator with battery disconnected and I got a reading of 1.36 and with battery connected I got a reading of 12.24. Since my battery only shows a charge of 70% and went ahead and connected up my shore power until tomorrow. I not sure how to do # 7. Are you talking about a meter like I am using to read the volts. If so what should I set it on and exactly where should I test to check the DVOM amp (fuse ratings)
Note the specs on the links I provided in my original post.

Dan are you still saying go to one battery even though they are parallel. The batteries are connected pos to pos and neg to neg.

Thanks for you guys help. If what I said above triggers anything else please let me know or if anyone else has any ideas please respond.

RollingHome
08-26-2012, 07:45 PM
Dan Meyer, I'm trying to C & P or insert a Microsoft Visio (schematic) diagram to the O.P. and I do not know how to do it. A picture (or diagram) is worth a thousand words and right now I'm speachless...:( In the past I was able to c&P these but something seems to have changed. Any help would be appreciated. In advance thank you.

RollingHome
08-26-2012, 08:18 PM
Yes we are saying go with 1 battery (it simplifies everything). DVOM = Digital Volt Ohm Meter. Most or some DVOM's can read volts (E) and current (Amps or I). Test # 7 is checking amps; we'll get back to that so don't worry about it for now.

The 19+ volts you are getting from the PV (photo-voltaic cells or solar cells) sounds like they are Okay. By the way, I am really not trying to impress you with my knowledge; I thought your sparky buddy was still with you. It is just easier for me/all to use abbreviations. In the end you too will be able to convert from Vulcan to English so bear with me.

The 12.4 volts you are reading is coming from the batteries, this means or at least sounds like the batteries are Okay (for now). I am concerned you are only getting 1.36 VDC from the regulator. This is why I wanted you to remove all load from it. However, (there's always a however) some regulators want to see some load to regulate... so it is a catch 22 situation. This is why I wanted only 1 battery in the circuit. My gut feeling says you have a bad regulator... but 2 in a row ??? So I ask why ??? - are you doing something wrong or does the o.e.m. have a problem ? Did they instantly send you a replacement or did they ask questions. If my first question is yes then perhaps they have a batch of bad regulators. Then again without touchy, feely, I'm just guessing. So from the left coast and many miles away I'm asking questions and formulating what your problem is - based on experience more than knowledge of your actual problem. I would love to be there and check things but I can't. It sounds like your buddy was stumped because of the same reason/s.

More about the regulator. Your PV cells put out voltage based on the power coming from the sun. The way your PV's cells are wired means they will make up to 24 volts DC (direct current). Put 24 volts or 17 volts into a 12 volt battery and you will boil the acid out of it... you'll dry cook it to death. So they use these things called zener diodes and circuitry to regulate or clamp the voltage, they are simply called regulators. Think of the regulator as a water dam except it dams the electric. It will release more when needed, but not so much to "over speed" the generators (cook the batteries). However, in the process of damming the electrons (water) they are brutalized, they break down, they do weird stuff, like pass 1.36 volts DC. They've may have taken a powder because too low a rated zener was used (for cheapness reasons). They also fail most when new... as yours are. This is why I suspect the regulator first.

You may need to have someone come out and trouble shoot your unit. But for now you are learning and it's free from a retired left coaster so go with it.

danemayer
08-26-2012, 08:18 PM
Dan Meyer, I'm trying to C & P or insert a Microsoft Visio (schematic) diagram to the O.P. and I do not know how to do it. A picture (or diagram) is worth a thousand words and right now I'm speachless...:( In the past I was able to c&P these but something seems to have changed. Any help would be appreciated. In advance thank you.

You can't cut and paste them in. You have to use the "Go Advanced" button below the edit window. That adds a bunch of advanced icons above the edit window. The one with the paperclip lets you add pdf and other file types.

A Visio diagram would have to be converted to pdf or jpg to be usable since very few people have Visio. I find pdf to be a better choice since the diagram will scale better.

RollingHome
08-26-2012, 08:53 PM
Dan, I am not as knowledgable as you in the computer arena... after all, that was your field, I'm just a toddler in that area. How do I convert MS Visio to a PDF... in advance thank you. By the way, I C&P Visio into MS Word... Then tried to C&P it from Word into the forum... no good, it shot me down too. I tried the paper clip way and still no good. It used to work on this forum, then the forum was improved... :mad: ta

danemayer
08-26-2012, 09:14 PM
Dan, I am not as knowledgable as you in the computer arena... after all, that was your field, I'm just a toddler in that area. How do I convert MS Visio to a PDF... in advance thank you. By the way, I C&P Visio into MS Word... Then tried to C&P it from Word into the forum... no good, it shot me down too. I tried the paper clip way and still no good. It used to work on this forum, then the forum was improved... :mad: ta

My Visio 2007 has an option to PUBLISH TO PDF under the FILE menu. If you don't see it on your menu, visit this link t (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/help/print-share-and-protect-files-in-the-pdf-and-xps-file-formats-HA010167527.aspx?CTT=5&origin=HA010067494)o get the add-on.

Another way is to use a free online converter like this (http://www.freepdfconvert.com/). It works with Visio .vsd files.

RollingHome
08-26-2012, 09:43 PM
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RollingHome
08-26-2012, 09:44 PM
Well Dan, I think I just blew up Toledo again... man sometimes this computer stuff just overwhelms me...

62cwil
08-27-2012, 12:42 AM
Every poster is correct. What I am suggesting is, make it easy, one step at a time. Let's do 1 battery and get it working. Then we will bring in the second battery.

I will go to rig tomorrow morning and go to one battery.

62cwil
08-27-2012, 11:35 AM
Thank you so much Tom for your help. After checking everything my friend and I seem to agree it has to be the regulator so I have a call in to the manufacturer. Yes I am learning. Also thank you Dan for the diagram. I checked and I am Parallel.

RollingHome
08-27-2012, 12:21 PM
You're quite welcome, hope everything works out for you. If I may offer a few more suggestions :

1). Use your own DVOM, don't count on the regulators VOM.

2). "IF" you get another bad regulator from your OEM consider getting your money back and go somewhere else (i.e. Northern Tool). Anyone's regulator should work as long as it is rated for your 150 watt panels and the 30 amp load.

3). Consider 'another' way to charge your batteries "IF" your PV system takes a powder while on the road. i.e. off the TV charging system (I just plug in the 7 pin and let it charge). Or even a small quiet genny. Like a boy scout be prepared :-)

4) Finally and most important. You are using flooded cell batteries. These type batteries should be in a dedicated & ventilated compartment or battery box with same. When this type battery is charged, explosive gases form around the battery... I do mean explosive. ANY type of spark or heat source (i.e. lit cigarette, broken light bulb etc. ) above the LEL (Lower Explosive Limit) will provide what's needed to seriously harm people and equipment. Make sure they are installed in a manner and location to absolutely prevent this from happening.

Happy RVing !

62cwil
08-27-2012, 09:32 PM
I went to rig and hooked to one battery. Also, my batteries are in enclosed case inside compartment with the batteries only. After talking to mfg today and they going thru things they are sending me new regulator. They told me to specifically hook battery cables to the regulator, then set type of battery and then connect solar leads last. I will let you know how it goes.

62cwil
08-29-2012, 09:51 PM
Mystery solved. Since I had spliced wires to the battery I replaced with # 6 red and white . Still same issue. When new regulator came in today still same so I decided the only thing that hadn't been checked was polarity from the solar panel to the regulator which was maybe 5 feet in length. My friend the electrician swore they were right but came over and went on roof and had me pull and guess what they were backward. We switched them and now everything is working fine. Thanks for everybody's help. For me I did learn a lot from all of your comments.

RollingHome
08-30-2012, 05:34 AM
This why I always color code AND label each end. It's why I always insisted the crew working for me did the same. Don't be too hard on your friend I'm sure he feels bad enough. Remember, the only guys that don't make mistakes are the guys that don't do anything. It proves one more thing, you're both human :o Now git out there and go commit some fun :cool:

Happy RVing